A Model Prisoner

Cops thought they'd busted the largest child-porn ring in Colorado history. But that's not how the case developed.

Grady did his first trueteenbabes photo shoots in January 2001. In February, he took his studio on the road, spending a week shooting pictures of girls who'd applied from Florida. Two months later, he and his assistants and equipment flew to Laguna Beach, California, and did it again.

Trueteenbabes.com opened for business on July 1, 2001. Grady signed up 25 subscribers the first day. By Thanksgiving of that year, he had more than 2,000 paying customers.

Although police later claimed that Grady was making hundreds of thousands of dollars from the site, he says that at the height of trueteenbabes.com's popularity, his net profit was closer to a modest $2,000 a month. Given the hefty costs -- paying for models, equipment, employee wages, mortgage payments and so on -- Web businesses aren't as prosperous as they can seem, Grady notes.

Jim Grady, back in business, takes aim at one of his 
models.
Anthony Camera
Jim Grady, back in business, takes aim at one of his models.
A tangled Web: The Internet helped Jim Grady's 
business take off.
Anthony Camera
A tangled Web: The Internet helped Jim Grady's business take off.

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Grady's billing service, for example, took 13 percent of the subscription fees off the top. He also paid a finder's fee to other Web sites, a common arrangement on the Internet. An "affiliate" would post an advertising banner for trueteenbabes.com on its site; if someone clicked on the banner, was routed to Grady's site and then decided to join, the owner of the first Web site received 30 percent of the subscription fee.

As trueteenbabes became more popular, Grady began to cut back on his adult porn work. He didn't have enough time to do both, and he liked working with the teenagers better. "They're more fun," he says. "They smile. It's more fun than taking another picture of a 21-year-old with her legs spread. Anymore, that's like herding cattle."

Because the Internet permits Web masters to keep an electronic record of every subscriber and person who logs onto their sites, Grady knew exactly who his customers were. Though he'd set up trueteenbabes for high school- and college-aged men, he quickly discovered that his average subscriber was closer to 29.

That didn't alarm him, though. Grady considered the men who logged on no different from the men watching girls on a crowded street. "It's like going to Park Meadows mall," he says. "Not everyone who walks through there you'd want to eat dinner with, or play softball with." But, he points out, no one is getting hurt, either.

Several former trueteenbabes models contacted by Westword declined to talk about their experiences with Grady, saying they just wanted to move on with their lives. A few said they were tired of being depicted as sluts in the media. Still, all evidence suggests that only one girl ever claimed to have been mistreated by Grady.

On March 18, 2000, Sheridan police responded to a call from Grady's studio. It was Grady himself; one of his former models was refusing to leave his building. He explained that the model, Jessica, and her boyfriend had come in to collect some pictures that Grady had taken earlier. Grady was unable to find the photos right away, and Jessica become agitated and belligerent. When Grady asked her to leave, her boyfriend intervened and threatened Grady, which is when the photographer called the cops.

The police separated the parties. Taken aside, Jessica told them a lurid story.

She had met Grady through another model, she said. She'd filled out an application and showed up at his studio sometime in July 1999. There, she claimed, Grady had told her to undress, put on a robe and high heels, and then drop her robe as she entered the room. No pictures were taken, although the two agreed to stay in touch.

Jessica said she went back a few weeks later, just after she turned eighteen years old. "He showed me to the dressing room, introduced me to the girl who was to do my makeup and hair and informed me there was some beer," she told the police.

Having expressed interest in doing nude pictures, Jessica posed for sixteen rolls of film while she stripped, touched herself and played with a vibrator. After the session, she claimed that Grady sat down with her and began touching her and demanding sex. At one point, she claims, Grady shoved her head into his lap, saying, "Why can't you just do this?" Jessica also told police that Grady later asked her to scout young girls for his Web site.

Grady says he never met with Jessica before her eighteenth birthday; the date on her application supports this. He says Jessica posed for two sessions: the first nude, Penthouse-style, in early October 1999, and the second with a vibrator, two months later. He also argues that Jessica's story would be physically impossible, because the dressing room she described in her police report was not even built until that October.

Both Sheridan police and Arapahoe County officials investigated Jessica's charges. But Grady was never contacted, and no charges were ever filed against him.

More common were the comments of models like Charelle, interviewed by police in the days following Grady's arrest. She said "that she did not witness any inappropriate activity," according to police reports, and "that there were no nude or sexual photos and she was not asked to do anything she was uncomfortable with."

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